Monday, December 7, 2009

WISE Launch Scheduled for Dec. 11

(WISE is shown inside one-half of the nose cone, or fairing, that will protect it during launch. The spacecraft is clamped to the top of the rocket above the white conical fitting. The fairing will split open like a clamshell about five minutes after launch.)

Launch of NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is programmed for Dec. 11. Launch and mission managers will assemble at Vandenberg today for the Flight Readiness Review to verify the Delta II rocket and its payload are ready for liftoff.

At Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 2, the spacecraft is safely tucked into in the outer nose cone, or "fairing," that will protect it during its launch and rise.

The WISE spacecraft will circle Earth over the poles, scanning the entire sky one-and-a-half times in 9 months. The mission will reveal hidden cosmic objects, including the coolest stars, dark asteroids and the most luminous galaxies.


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